Lupe Fiasco, a musician perhaps best known for his seminal work on Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor, may square off against Mad Catz’ Daigo Umehara in a Street Fighter V exhibition. This is a thing that could possibly happen.
But let’s go back to the beginning.
Twitter is a magical place. Like any social media platform, it has it’s fair share of disappointing moments when you happen to come into contact with an asshole, but it can also connect us to artists, celebrities, and more in the blink of an eye.
On the other hand, it can also connect us to people like Honzo Gonzo.
A perennial trickster, prankster, and all around silly dudester, Mr. Gonzo has become prolific in the fighting game community over the past few years for his wacky antics. He was pretty good at Marvel vs. Capcom 3 at one point, but gave it all up to live the life of a common street corner doomsayer, filling the internet with his predictions of the end times with a bit of honesty and reflection on the side. Honzo Gonzo is the true neutral of our scene. Honzo Gonzo is the moral center.
(Editor’s note: Honzo is also an integral part of many fighting game broadcasts. These comments reflect the opinions of the writer and not Shoryuken as a whole.)
So when Honzo confronted Lupe Fiasco last night concerning the rapper’s comments on Marvel players, it was basically business as usual. “Oh that Honzo Gonzo,” was surely uttered at least once with a combined head shake and chuckle, and folks moved on with their night.
Then Lupe replied.
For anyone familiar with Honzo’s antics, you know that something like this only throws fuel on the fire. He was quick to reply back, first offering the Chicago native a match at Evo and then challenging him to a $6,000,000 money match. That’s when the stipulations began; Lupe wanted the match to happen on an old-school arcade cabinet, preferably pulled from an old laundromat, with factory settings and no custom arcade sticks. Essentially, as HellPockets so perfectly put it, he wanted to make sure the roundhouse button only worked 60% of the time.
Funny enough, Lupe backed down, likely due to the intimidation factor and not because he had better things to do than argue with this guy on Twitter. It was basically the Lasers of his internet feud with Honzo Gonzo, and it seemed like it was going to blow over until he mentioned watching Evo to study Daigo Umehara.
That’s where Mad Catz’ Mark “MarkMan” Julio comes in. As the company’s sponsorship manager, he likely has a separate Tweetdeck column dedicated to highlighting mentions of Daigo’s name, and quickly jumped on the opportunity to bring more attention to the community by offering Lupe a match against the Japanese legend. The rest, as they say, is history. Or will be in the future. Whatever.
— Lupe Fiasco (@LupeFiasco) January 27, 2016
At first, it seemed like a fun Twitter conversation with no real chance of coming to fruition, but a recent series of tweets shows that Lupe is serious about the match. He’s discussing strategies with his friends, ironing out his existing system for “amateur players and shit talkers,” linking up with Mad Catz V Cup runner-up Graham Wolfe, and even searching for an arcade stick despite previous demands.
This is the point where I throw in some cheesiness about the ways fighting games connect players from all walks of life, so be warned.
To be completely serious for a second, it was amazing watching this come together. A bit of lighthearted smack talk turning into a possible exhibition between a famous musician and the greatest player the community has ever seen is a testament to our overwhelming passion. We may be smartasses, but at the end of the day that attitude can help us attain greatness. Whether you’re a fan who happens to rap on the side or a veteran competitor with numerous championships under your belt, that love is what keeps the genre afloat even during years of drought.
We’ll have more details on the Lupe Fiasco vs. Daigo Umehara exhibition as soon as they are hammered out, so for now, just bask in the fact that, yes, this is actually happening. Give everyone involved some love next time you see them.